Canada is finally taking aggressive action on cruise ship pollution practices. Other countries need to follow their example.
Canada on Friday banned cruise ships from dumping sewage and dirty water close to shore and said it would impose fines of up to C$250,000 ($190,000) for offending vessels.
A range of anti-pollution measures introduced on a voluntary basis in April 2022 will become obligatory with immediate effect, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said in a statement.
Environmental groups in 2021 denounced what they called lax Canadian regulations, saying cruise ships traveling to and from Alaska alone had dumped 31 billion liters (8.2 billion U.S. gallons) of inadequately treated pollution into Canada’s Pacific waters in 2019.
“Cruise ships are an important part of our economy and tourism sector, but they need to operate in a more sustainable manner,” Alghabra said. Cruise ships generate more than C$4 billion a year for the economy, he added.
The new rules will ban the discharge of sewage and so-called greywater – the drainage from sinks, laundry machines, bathtubs and showers – within three nautical miles of Canadian shores.
Additionally, ships in non-Arctic waters will have to strengthen the treatments of sewage and greywater dumped between three and 12 nautical miles from the shore. Separate rules already regulate cruise ship pollution in Arctic waters.
“If a vessel is found to be non-compliant during inspection, enforcement action will be taken as with regulations, including the administration of monetary penalties up to a maximum of C$250,000,” Alghabra said.
($1 = 1.3199 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Richard Chang)
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